Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama's Day Musing

You know, I'm not one to get in to random holidays, particularly ones that seem rather driven by consumer culture like, say, Valentine's Day. I like birthdays and I like holidays laden with old traditions, even if the traditions are just ones you've made up in your own family, and "old" is relative to how long your family has been celebrating it. But the Hallmark Holidays? Totally not my thing. And yet, I like Mother's Day. I don't like it so much for it being about honoring me, the Mama, because I don't need a day printed on the calendar for that (and I can't help but think of all the other women who aren't mothers and are no less for it, or the people who don't have mothers with or near them anymore, or the people struggling with any number of heartaches around the very complex and often messy circumstances of motherhood). No, I like it for the kids. I like how excited it makes my children to consciously celebrate that they are my children. I love their sweet, open faces as they pour a handful of crushed dandelions into my cupped palms. I love the ecstasy you can see in them, in knowing they have thought and worked on some small token that has brought a smile and a squeal from their Mama.

I am thinking about this particularly this year after seeing Benjamin's Kindergarten class at the Tea they put on. All of those kids were beaming at their mothers. All of them were so proud and so transparently full of delight in loving and being loved by that person who came to be honored. Sometimes there is a humility necessary in stepping away from "I don't need XYZ because of a calendar date" and allowing someone to honor you because they want to. And that's Mother's's about them to be about me at all. It might be called Mother's Day but it's the children who make you a player in it.

It makes me think about how every year on Sophia's birthday, it always feels like it's the day two people were born. My first child slipped out of my body but she birthed me as her mother in doing so.

I am not the same person I was before I called myself a Mama. I am continually, constantly glad of it.

A few nights ago Benjamin was cuddling to sleep with me in bed, and he was rambling in the way he does and he somehow got on the topic of What Happens When We Die, which is something he mulls and seems pretty appropriate to his age. He asked, again, as he does, "Do you think we all start back over again and again, Mama?" and I said, as I always gently do, that I just don't know for sure. And then he said, "When you die and I die, I'm going to hold tightly to you so that if we start over you will be my Mama again." And I said, "I always want to be your Mama."

And that was enough for both of us.

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